October 7, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (96) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins believe they have the top best nose tackle in the league


The Washington Redskins defense has been one of the worst units in the NFL throughout the first month of the season, but that hasn’t stopped the team’s defensive coordinator Jim Haslett from praising his players — hey, optimism is a good thing.

When Haslett was recently discussing his defense, the name Barry Cofield came up and Haslett was so proud of his player that he went on to call Cofield the best nose tackle in the league.

“I think Barry is the best nose tackle in the league because he can do a little bit of everything,” Haslett said, via the Washington Post. “He’s good on the run, he’s powerful, he’s strong, he’s a good pass-rusher. He’s relentless. I think that combination makes him the best. He’s not, maybe 350 pounds. He’s 315, 316-17 pounds, but I think he’s ideal for what we’re doing with him.”

The comment may be laughable considering the way the Redskins defense has performed recently, but the praise for Cofield is coming off of the heels of a two-sack performance in Week 4. Granted, the performance came against the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Matt Flynn, but Haslett was impressed with his nose tackle’s play.

“If a nose tackle gets two sacks in this league? That’s outstanding,” Haslett said. “Most noses don’t play on third down. Barry plays on third down. His first game, with the cast on, he didn’t play as well. But after that, he’s been outstanding. He was exceptional last week.”

If the Redskins defense is going to turn things around, starting with a dominant presence in the middle would be a good place to begin, but this team is a long way from being a top unit.

As for Cofield, he already has the attention of his defensive coordinator, so now he will need to continue playing at a top level and ensure that fans and media around the league start to recognize the same level of talent that Haslett sees in him.

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Tags: Washington Redskins